Today I had the chance to chat with fellow Barking Rain Press author Jennifer Leeper. Jennifer is the author of Padre: The Narrowing Path (description at bottom of post), a book I very much enjoyed. Check out Jennifer’s advice on finding inspiration for writing. Then, click the link for a free preview and coupon code for her novel.
Where do I find inspiration for my writing? It’s a question that other writers and non-writers alike ask me on a fairly frequent basis, and for every writer there is a unique answer because a writer’s inspiration is very personal. I’m going to delve into several different ways to get inspired to write, all of which fall under either passive or active inspiration umbrellas.
For writers who would rather let inspiration materialize naturally – whether through the senses or the mind – there are many types of passive inspiration, such as:
- Reading – Writers can learn not only how to write from reading other writers, but what to write about and whether it’s an overarching theme you want to emulate in your own fiction, or the smallest of details of another writer’s story you hope to build your own fictional world around, other writers have the power to inspire their own literary kind.
- Go to the movies – Great films can offer great escapes, but for writers they can be launch pads for great fiction. Emotionally engaging characters, plots and dialogue can be the subconscious seeds of great storytelling on the page.
- Take a hike – Being in nature can open a writer’s senses and mind to new ideas, and it’s even been proven that being in the great outdoors can boost creativity. A group of Outward Bound backpackers scored 50 percent higher on a creativity test following a multi-day wilderness expedition.
Those storytellers who prefer to play more proactive, organized roles in hunting after their inspiration can through activities such as:
- Writing workshops – Workshops are great settings for getting the creative juices flowing, whether it comes from listening to other writers reading their works or tossing ideas back and forth with your fellow wordsmiths in stream-of-consciousness brainstorming sessions.
- Retreat! Writers retreats combine beautiful landscapes with workshops and other structured activities where writers can proactively seek out opportunities for inspiration.
- Enter themed writing contests – Themed contests offer concrete direction, and these set themes can even be used outside of contests for personal writing projects.
Inspiration can be found just about anywhere, from a conversation overheard at a coffee shop to a vivid dream that compels a writer to build new worlds out of his imaginary ones so that the world that isn’t imaginary can be inspired too.
Check out where inspiration has taken me through my writing at http://barkingrainpress.org/padre-the-narrowing-path/, where you can experience my spiritual thriller Padre: The Narrowing Path. Don’t forget to stop by Barking Rain Press again in Spring 2016 to check out my short story collection, Border Run and Other Stories.
About the book:
Russell Capshaw is a successful New York advertising executive who tries to stave off his mid-life crisis with an extended drug binge in the Far East. After treatment in a detox facility in Dublin, Ireland, he pays a visit to his estranged uncle, who has recently experienced a spiritual reversion to Catholicism—a faith that Russell himself left behind in childhood. Caught up in the spell of his uncle’s quiet devotion and the lush Irish landscape, Russell finds himself drawn to a new and very different life.
After joining the priesthood and taking the name Father John, he is sent to serve the parish of the Raramuri tribe in the canyons of the Sierra Madre in Mexico. There he learns that the tribesmen are being kidnapped by the local narcotrafficantes as forced labor for their drug fields.
As the Raramuri leaders carry out raids on the drug camps to rescue their enslaved people, Father John strives to keep from getting involved by focusing on restoring the parish church and ministering to the people. But as the violence escalates, the lines between spiritual and worldly matters are stretched to the breaking point in a final, bloody showdown between the villagers and the narcotrafficantes.